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Available on Amazon.

December 15th, 2010

Book cover illustrated & designed by Carlos Ramos
Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios [cover]

OK, here ’tis on Amazon.com, Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios, before Christmas, as we hoped. Not sure if they can actually deliver it by next week, but you can check. The official release date is in March, so at least you can get a head start on everyone else. In the meanwhile, you can preview the whole book below to see if it’s worth it to you.

Here’s the blurb (and here’s the entire introduction):

Please, consider the unconsidered art of the original cartoon title card.

For almost a century, the art of the cartoon title card has not been disparaged, disregarded, or dismissed. It has been completely ignored. And by the 1970s it had almost completely disappeared.

Over 200 full color original title cards from hit Frederator cartoon series, including The Fairly OddParents, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, Fanboy & Chum Chum, Adventure Time, and eight more.

Frederator loves you.

Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios

Coming for Christmas?

November 28th, 2010

Book cover illustrated & designed by Carlos Ramos
Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios [cover]The latest from Frederator Books, Original Cartoon Title Cards, should be out soon. Eric Homan and I have chosen a subjective compilation of 200 of the title cards from our productions over the years, including some of the best from The Fairly OddParents, ChalkZone, My Life as a Teenage Robot, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, Ape Escape Cartoons, The Meth Minute 39, What A Cartoon!, Oh Yeah! Cartoons, Random! Cartoons, and the first season of Fanboy & Chum Chum and Adventure Time. You’ve probably seen some of them here or here, but I’ve got to say, seeing them printed large size (the book is 8 1/4″ wide by 6″ high), is pretty darn cool.

“Official” publication should be in January. But, we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to offer it early (maybe as soon as next week) to Frederator blog readers. Stay tuned here for more information as it comes. In the meantime, here’s a preview of the essay at the beginning of the book.

…..

The unconsidered art of the cartoon title card.

I started searching the internet for someone who could write an essay to introduce this book of Frederator Studios’ cartoon title cards. Surely, someone with an writer’s eye had a few choice words to say about decades of cool graphic design.

Nothing.

There were several places where beautiful vintage cartoon cards are displayed, usually for filmographic or historical purposes. But, for all the pages devoted to critical analysis and display of another pop culture icon, the movie poster, there wasn’t a full paragraph of consideration I could turn up about the kind of art we’re displaying in this book.

Well, I’m no art historian, so they won’t be any scintillating examinations here. But, just let me point out that it might be worth checking out the dozens of talented artists and creators who have shared their work with us here. All sorts of styles are represented, from homage to the one and two color cards we saw in the silents, to sumptuous, nuanced illustrations that are hard to appreciate in the 10 seconds they’re usually displayed on television. Breadth of craft is also demonstrated here, from simple typography, pencil on paper, computer generated images, even paper cut outs.

Within minutes of ruminating about cartoons for the first time –professionally, that is; they probably started dominating my mind as soon as my parents got their first TV– there was no choice. The model for my productions needed to be the great shorts during the golden age of the early, mid-20th century: Looney Tunes, the Disney’s, the MGM’s, even the first TV shows of Hanna-Barbera. And there was no joking about the template. Our films would hew as close as possible to these classics from front to back. Studio logo, character name, episode name, seven minutes of squash & stretch hilarity, and “The End.” No deviations, please.

It took a few years to get anyone to agree that we could even make these kinds of cartoons (thank you kindly, Scott Sassa and Ted Turner). And, among the creative posse making the first 48 shorts there wasn’t one push back about the idea of the title cards, they loved everything cartoon. It helped that I was the president of the studio, but that really had nothing to do with it.

The talent we’d lined up were chomping at the bit to reintroduce –no, reinvent– the very idea of cartoons, since the production industry and the networks had almost completely abandoned the form almost 30 years before. Disney had long seemed embarrassed by their ‘cartoon’ roots, but even the 1980 revival of the famous Warner studio couldn’t admit their strength and named itself “Warner Bros. Animation.” Our team trained themselves in a business that had turned its back on their love, but they were undeterred. When we announced our complete dedication to the form, they lined up in force and embraced every aspect of our program, eventually creating a tidal wave of success that made cartoons the dominant form of animation throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

The networks were another story. It’s fair to say that we’ve had resistance to title cards for almost everyone one of the almost 20 series that have been sprung from our three shorts series of the last 15 years. It’s never the budget issues, which would have been my first arguments against them, if I’d been so inclined; it is not inexpensive to make between 50 and 150 of illustrative, finished artwork per season. No, unfortunately, there’s probably a failure of imagination. “Other series don’t do it.”

Cartoon title cards indeed seem to be an unconsidered art. Everywhere but here. Feast your eyes for as long as you might wish, I guarantee some gorgeous rewards.

Fred Seibert
New York, 2010
Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios [back cover]

The unconsidered art.

September 3rd, 2010

DRAFT Book ORIGINAL Cartoon Title Cards Aug 2010

We’ve been showing off the title cards from our cartoons for quite a while now. And Eric and I have been chomping at the bit for years to collect a bunch of them in a book to include in the Frederator library. Why? Because, as Susan Miller says, “There’s something about a book.”

At the rate we’re going, it should be on Amazon sometime in October, but in the meantime I thought I’d share the current draft.

I’ve taken to calling cartoon title cards an “unconsidered art” for a bit now because, funny enough, as I’ve been trolling the internet I cannot find more than a few words written about this very rich art form. There’s hundreds of cards posted, primarily from the golden age of the theatricals, but not a lot of critical consideration. Not from Jerry Beck, not from Leonard Maltin, or Mark Mayerson or Michael Barrier either. Maybe it’s because their so basically functional that no one’s given them a second thought (except for the confusions related to replacing them on early television prints). Or maybe because they’ve almost completely disappeared from cartoons over the last 30 years (I can tell you for a fact that every network executive looks askance at us when we tell them we use them).

I mean, every movie poster book seems to have pages devoted to artistic analysis. Do you have any idea why no one’s written about animation title cards? They’re so cool.

Back to the book. We’ve selected about 200 title card images from all the cartoons we’ve produced over the years, starting back in the 90s with What A Cartoon! at Hanna-Barbera, and continuing until today with Oh Yeah! Cartoons, The Fairly OddParents, ChalkZone, My Life as a Teenage Robot… well, you get the idea.

So, take an advance read now. We’re girding ourselves for your complaints about what we’ve left out.

By the way, the cover in the draft above is just a slug I put in there for positioning. The always amazing Carlos Ramos has actually designed an alternative, and as usual with CR’s work, it’s algebraic. (And, we’ve snuck in a thumbnail of one of Carlos’ Oh Yeah! cartoons.)

Wow! The history continues.

April 16th, 2010

Frederator Postcards Series 9.7
Frederator Postcards Series 9.7, mailed April 16, 2010

We worked with Bob Boyle on two shorts at Oh Yeah! Cartoons, and when he was the art director and producer on The Fairly Oddparents. Eric Homan brought Bob in the door when we started thinking about picture books for pre-schoolers. One of them became a book last month, and the other? You’re looking at it.
……

From the postcard back:

Congratulations!
You are one of 200 people to receive this limited edition Frederator postcard!
www.frederator.com

History of Frederator Studios
Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!
2006 - ?
Created by Bob Boyle

Executive Producers: Bob Boyle, Susan Miller Lazar, Fred Seibert
A Bolder Media/Starz Production
Bolder Media, a joint venture of Frederator Studios & Mixed Media Group

Series 9.7

Postcard ©2010, Bellport Cartoon Company. Wow!Wow!Wubbzy! ©2010, Bolder Media and Starz. All rights reserved.
……

More Frederator postcards

Wow! Wow! Mopsy!?

July 24th, 2009

Mopsy Flopsy and Ted

A few months ago I posted the original pitch bible for Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! In that spirit, I thought some might enjoy Bob Boyle’s actual creative work that kicked off the whole project in the first place.

Originally, we were looking for a creative way to enter the pre-school market. It occurred to me that picture books could be a parallel universe to our cartoon shorts, a way for commercially minded artist/animator/writers to show their stuff in the best possible light. Eric Homan approached a number of folks, and Bob Boyle was one of the earliest people to show up with the goods (like he always is). We’d started working together in production with Oh Yeah! Cartoons (Bob even created two shorts of his own), and continued for through years on The Fairly Oddparents.

Flopsy, Mopsy & Ted was the second picture book came in with. It’s pretty much the complete template of the series that followed. With a few name changes –first the Wubby, Widget & Walden, then with a legal challenge to Wubbzy, Widget & Walden, and finally to W!W!W!–Bob wrote the pitch, and then the pilot script. We were off and running.

A big Frederator weekend.

May 1st, 2009

FREDERATOR_ROBOT by Eugene Mattos 2006
Fredbot illustrated by Eugene Mattos

Eric pointed out that we’ve got a jammed packed weekend of Frederator related TV events on Nickelodeon’s networks this weekend.

The Wubb Girlz

Friday kicks off at 1pm ET on Nick Jr. (and 7pm Sunday on Noggin) with the premiere of Wubb Idol, guest starring Beyoncé (yeah, who woulda thought?), the first original movie for Bob Boyle’s Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!

Wishology Weekend Poster

And Friday night, 8pm, the beginning of the Wishology event for Butch Hartman’s The Fairly Oddparents.


And that’s not all. Tomorrow at 3pm you also get (big sob, bigger tears) the absolute end of Rob Renzetti’s My Life as a Teenage Robot.

So give us some love this weekend. You’ll be glad you did.

Wow! Wow! on a roll.

January 8th, 2009

Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! show bible

Publish at Scribd or explore others: Culture wubbzy

Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! is doing so well in it’s second season (so well that it’s a state secret right now; I’ll share the details when I can) that I was looking back on it’s origins (that’s the original pitch bible above). And I was being fascinated with how true to it’s original vision creator Bob Boyle has kept it.

My week in Hollywood 1.3.

September 25th, 2007

Nickelodeon Studios

Back to my week. By the way, I don’t want to leave the wrong impression here. My average week is no busier than anyone trying to keep their productions and businesses going. But, for those who wondering…

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I wanted to get this picture from the Nicktoons Studios up. It doesn’t have much to do with the post other than I took it during my trip and it reminds me of the evolution of even the best cartoon shows.

Kent Rice is the new CEO of Starz Entertainment (formerly IDT Entertainment), so he now represents our major production partner on Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! We’d met briefly in New York but I wanted us to get to know each other better, so we met for breakfast at the Graciela, my home away from home, and coincidentally Kent’s too when he first started working in LA.

jamesbrown3.jpg

On my way over to Sherman Oaks for an early lunch meeting, I called into a conference call with Dan Meth, Jeaux Janovsky, Eric Homan, and Carrie Miller about the show packaging for our impending weekly launch of the Meth Minute 39. As usual, we don’t all agree on everything, but I think there’s a solution everyone’s happy with in the end.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee is in the LA office of Boston’s Prism VentureWorks. We met for lunch to give me my perspective on Next New Networks and Channel Frederator.

Barney Saltzberg
Over the hill from the Valley into West Hollywood to meet author/singer Barney Saltzberg at the Urth Cafe. Barney and I met about 10 years ago and like each other’s work a lot. As with others, we keep struggling to find stuff to do together and haven’t licked it yet.

Damien Somerset
I didn’t leave my seat for the next meeting, this time on Next New Networks business again with Damien Somerset, the creator/producer of Zaproot, our cool new green show on Viropop. We’d only met briefly before, and in case I haven’t made it clear, I really like getting to know the people with whom I’m doing things. Damien’s a nice, smart, talented guy.

Bad Robot Productions home page
East on Melrose are the Paramount Studios and the production offices of J.J. AbramsBad Robot Productions. We’re starting work on a movie and this meeting was the first time we’d met in person. Later on, Bryan Burke, JJ’s longtime producer and collaborator, and I had a great first dinner on the Sunset Strip.

Friday
Art's Deli
Art’s Deli for a turkey sandwich for JetBlue, and home to New York.